New York, NY – The head of the NY Metro Area Postal Union, on Tuesday, decried the continued loss of postal banking services in the Bronx and beyond, warning hard-pressed consumers forced to do business at private institutions are losing thousands of dollars each year.
“Residents of the Bronx need affordable banking services – and the women and men of the U.S. Postal Service are ready to deliver,” Jonathan Smith, president of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, said outside the Hunts Point Post Office on Manida Street. “Consumers without access to banking services are paying thousands of dollars a year to alternative financial institutions. The U.S. Postal Service has the legal authority, and the capacity, to provide a range of financial services at a much more affordable cost.”
According to Congress Member Jose Serrano’s office [D-5th District], more than half of Bronx residents today, either do not have a bank account, or if they do, find associated banking fees so high, that they seek out other alternatives.
“Affordable financials services, available in public post offices across the country, would be a great benefit to working families,” Smith continued.
The U.S. Postal Service, which currently sells more than 286,000 money orders every business day, has authority under existing law to provide ATMs, paycheck cashing, bill payment and electronic money transfers.
At one time, the public could avail themselves to a wider-range of traditional banking services at their local Post Office. But that came to an end in the late 1960s. Three years ago, following a white paper issued in 2014, the Post Office Inspector General suggested turning the Post Office into a licensed bank among a list of five new proposals to once again offer affordable financial services to Post Office customers.
Now, however, the US Postal Service is under siege from far right assaults seeking to privatize the agency — despite it being explicitly authorized in the U.S. Constitution.
This past spring, the Trump administration rolled out its own plan to privatize the US Postal Service. Two bills in both the House and Senate have been crafted to thwart the effort. And earlier this month, US Postal Service advocates across the country rallied against privatization efforts that would expose more working families to predatory pay day lenders and the like.
Together with Bronx Representatives Serrano, Joe Crowley and Adriano Espaillat, Smith and other community allies, have amassed a petition with more than 5,300 signatures urging both Bronx Postmaster Scott Farrar and U.S. Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan to restore affordable banking services to U.S. post offices across the country.